Image: iStock/pixedeli Image: iStock/pixedeli

Han Solo might famously have dismissed the idea of Princess Leia liking 'nice men', but a new study has discovered that her protests were probably true.

Or, at least, it has found that nice men tend to have more sex than scoundrels. A team at the Queensland University of Technology in Australia researched 3,000 men and 1,500 women to analyse the data from their online dating profiles.

It was found that the men who enjoyed the most sex tended to display personality traits including outgoing, emotionally stable and conscientious.

The news appears to blow out of the water the idea that women looking for love online are seeking out moody Heathcliff types and those who practise the philosophy 'treat them mean, keep them clean'.

Nope, apparently they are far more interested in a man who is going to be a good date and treat them well. Funny, that.

Writing in the journal Personality and Individual Differences, lead study author Dr Stephen Whyte said: "Science doesn't really have a firm understanding around how personality traits influence human mating and reproductive behaviour, and particularly whether certain personality types are favoured by either males or females. Our findings suggest that the greater variance in male traits and their particular combinations may provide an advantage for them when it comes to sex and reproduction."

Looking at the research in more detail, though, it probably isn't surprising that the men who were labelled 'nice' tended to achieve more sex. If a person you go on a date with proves to be emotionally unstable or evidently not very conscientious, the chances are that you're going to attempt escape through the restaurant's bathroom window well before the 'shall we go to mine for coffee?' stage.

Maybe the findings might be worth keeping in mind when writing that dating profile, but we'd say you probably know it's important to be nice when it comes to actually meeting people face-to-face.